Letters to the Editor

Legislators should be holding ‘apology tour’


Our 10th District legislative delegation to Olympia, Barbara Bailey, Norma Smith and Dave Hayes, are starting their “victory lap” tour throughout the district on March 20.

They will travel from site to site during a three-day period spiking the football at the feet of the hard-working men and women of the district and their families.

However, considering the horrendous voting record of our delegation this legislative session, they should instead be conducting an “apology tour.”

On virtually every occasion the three members of our delegation had a chance to do what was right for the workers and families of the district, they sided with their corporate buddies instead. Space limitations precludes the listing of all such legislation, but here are a few of the most egregious anti-worker, anti-family bills.

All the following House bills passed the House but were killed in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Reps. Smith and Hayes voted against district workers and their families by voting “no” on each of these bills:

CERTIFIED PAYROLL — HB 2331 enabled workers on public construction projects to confirm they are being lawfully paid prevailing wage by requiring contractors to post timely certified payroll reports.

TRIPLE DAMAGES — HB 2332 discouraged wage theft by making employers liable for triple damages, rather than double, in a civil action.

WAGE THEFT RETALIATION — HB 2333 established criminal penalties for employers who retaliate against workers who seek their rightfully earned wages.

WORKPLACE FRAUD — HB 2334 addressed the workplace fraud of misclassifying employees as independent contractors to avoid paying taxes and premiums for workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance.

Why did our two Representatives voted “no” on each of these bills? On the floor of the House they used the time-worn excuse that such bills would impose too much of a burden on businesses.

Ask yourself what burden would these bills have placed on honest employers who do not steal their workers’ wages — the answer is, absolutely none whatsoever.

Would the bills have placed a burden on dishonest employers who do steal their workers’ hard-earned wages? You bet they would have, and rightfully so.

Ditto for those employers who deliberately and fraudulently misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying taxes and premiums for workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance.

While Sen. Bailey did not actually vote on each of these bills because they were killed in Republican-controlled committees in the Senate, there were numerous Senate bills that she did vote “yes” on that were also anti-worker and anti-family.

Bailey clearly has the same views of worker rights that our two representatives do.

Every hard-working mom and dad in the district is entitled to be treated fairly and with dignity and respect by their legislators. They are also entitled to be paid the full measure for their labor. To shove them aside and allow them to be cheated by their employers because their legislators are more interested in not placing a few simple requirements on those employers to ensure they stop committing fraud and outright theft is deplorable.

I believe our legislative delegation should be conducting an “apology tour” throughout the district instead of dancing in the end zone, don’t you?

After all, what is there to really celebrate?

Nels Kelstrom



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